Covering Louisiana

Oct 9, 2013 10:54 AM by AP (photo courtesy; MGN online)

Pay cuts considered for Opelousas mayor, aldermen

The Opelousas Board of Aldermen has introduced an ordinance to amend, and possibly lower, the salaries of the aldermen and mayor.

The proposed ordinance, which alderman voted 4-2 Tuesday to introduce, goes to a Finance Committee, which will have a month to discuss the compensation of board members and the mayor.

The Advocate reports the committee is to come back with suggestions before a board vote in November.

Mayor Donald Cravins, Sr. said he and the aldermen have been asked lately by residents and city workers to re-examine their monthly salaries in light of cuts that have been made to the operating budgets of many city departments.

"We talk about saving money here all the time. If you're going to lead, you need to lead by example," Cravins said.

Cravins told the council he is suggesting the mayor's salary which he collects, should be reduced from $72,000 to $52,000.

The aldermen, Cravins said, receive about $20,000 annually.

That amount includes a monthly vehicle allowance of $250 for each alderman. The mayor pro tempore and the alderman at large make slightly higher amounts than the other four aldermen, Cravins said.

With the city experiencing financial difficulty, Cravins said, it might be time for him and the aldermen to take pay cuts.

"My point is, we are having to tighten our belts. My suggestion is that (the aldermen) take a reduced amount per month and that the pay for the Office of Mayor be reduced $20,000, to $52,000," Cravins said.

Cravins said it is illegal for public officials to approve a reduction in pay for the term in which they are serving.

"This (pay reductions) would have to begin during the next election cycle," Cravins said.

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